Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tortola Photos

Here are a few more Tortola photos.  After this it will be St Kitts.  We need to be 100% present where we are.

This is called The Well.  It is the spot where the proclamation freeing all African slaves in the Britain-controlled islands was read in 1834.  It is a very important spot historically.  Now it is also a place where drug dealers hang out at night.

Honorable Lavity Stoutt Community College Library

Priceless Slave Records

HLSCC Librarian.  They all LOVE Obama.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sun and Butterflies

St Kitts Chapel

St Kitts is very different from Tortola.  It is much bigger for one thing. (Check them both out on Google Earth.)  The mountains are much higher, but they are not obstacles that we must overcome every day.  There is enough relatively flat land here that the mountains, really inactive volcanoes, are more a part of the scenery than a part of the experience.  We live on the Atlantic side of the island.  

One of the strange things about living in the tropics, between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, is that the sun is actually in the northern sky for a good part of the summer.  On June 21 it will reach its northernmost point and begin the journey to the south.  There is a point on the journey when the sun passes directly overhead at noon.  From then on until it crosses that point on the return trip the sun is in the northern sky.  My brain sees the sun in the sky and thinks that is south because all points in the continental US are north of the Tropic of Cancer so the sun is always in the south sky, just higher or lower according to summer or winter.  With the sun in the north sky my head thinks sunrise is in the west because my head thinks the sun tracks in the south sky.  That means the sun comes up in the west, which it does not of course.  I had the same problem as a missionary in southern Africa, and when we went to Australia to visit Juli and Shon two years ago.  It just adds to my disorientation.

There is constant breeze from the east here.  The trade winds blew Columbus and the other early explorers across the Atlantic, right into these islands.  One the one hand it is a little oppressive because it never stops, but the upside is that the breeze keeps the temperature and the humidity manageable.  Moving air always feels cooler than stagnant air.  All day we have two doors open in the apartment and there is a nice flow of air through those doors.  At night we close everything up, as directed by our landlady who lives upstairs (also the branch RSP), so we then turn on the AC and the ceiling fan to keep things manageable.  It is actually quite comfortable in our sleeping room at night.

We have monarch butterflies here.  Seeing them is like seeing an old friend.  When I am out walking I am always looking for signs of a larva eating the milkweed leaves.  The weed here is a little different from the variety in Southern Idaho, but it is apparently close enough that the proper metabolic process takes place to perpetuate the species.  We have one chrysalis hanging up right now 
and another worm is chowing on some leaves in our “wormarium.”  

Helping the Local Monarch Population

I am sure I will find more over the coming days.  There is just one long growing season here, but maybe these butterflies also migrate somewhere.  The ones in our Great Basin go to Mexico for the winter, but a few years ago there was a disastrous cold spell in the mountains where they go and the population has not recovered.  That is one reason I am so glad to see them here.  

The font.  Not as good as Long Bay, but it will do.  We had a baptism yesterday.

St Kitts chapel with the chairs put away.

Mangoes.  Boy, are they good!

We hold priesthood meeting under this mango tree.

RS room/kitchen/font room

Thursday, June 13, 2013

St Kitts and Nevis

Battered but Unbeaten.  I can identify with him.

We are now on the island of St Kitts.  South of the BVI, St Kitts was also once a British territory but is now an independent country.  It is much larger than Tortola and has a completely different feel. The people are not as friendly, but we can work with that.  The LDS branch is much larger and stronger than the one on Tortola, but that little branch has four missionaries out, two more with calls, and one awaiting his call.  Quite impressive for a small branch of new members.
Kelvin, waiting for his call

The branch presidency of Tortola Branch was changed.  Frank Kalama has been the BP for most of the past 10 years, but it is time for him and his family to move back to Hawaii.  The new BP is a terrific guy who has been coming down to Virgin Gorda every winter with his wife.  They have been on a mission to India and have been spending their summers in North Carolina, but they will now be spending the whole year in the BVI.  They will be terrific.  Leaving those sweet people was a terribly painful emotional experience for us and for them, but that is how life goes.  

We visited the library of a local college.  The librarian, an ardent Obama fan, showed us a book of 1825 records of "captured Negroes" in the BVI.  Priceless.

They sort of speak English here

Steep hill on Tortola

Finding our way around the new neighborhood has been somewhat challenging for us old folks, but we are getting there.  Look at St Kitts-Nevis on Google Earth to get a lay of the land here.  The two islands are the result of volcanic activity with plenty of remnants of the islands’ birth process. 
St Kitts Mountains
We went exploring a little bit this afternoon as we drove down through the peninsula.  There is actually a small group on Nevis so we will be going there once in a while.  Meanwhile, we have found our way to the local LDS church.  There are three mango trees on the church lot and the fruit is just ripening.  Boy, are they good!  

We already know a few of the members here.  Jason Benjamin came to Tortola in February to do a church audit and stayed with us for a couple of nights.  We met the Persaud family when we went to the temple in April.  In fact, we spent one whole day with Tiffany and Teo while their parents were going through the temple for their first time.  
Tiffany and Theo
Then we were privileged to witness the family being sealed together.  It will be really fun to work with them again.  Gaye will be doing piano lessons and I will have a lot more to do than I did on Tortola.  We are excited.  By the way, Steve Haymore did his DVM training here a few years ago.  We have met two people who remember the Haymore's fondly.  Small world. Steve grew up just around the corner from us and he and Spencer spent a lot of time together.

Here are some photos of the area and some of the people.

Coqui frogs. They are noisy.

Flambouyant trees in bloom

Mongoose on St Kitts

Green Vervet monkey on St Kitts

10 year old Aukievah.  Love the hair!

Dumb gulls, bathing in a mud puddle

Tortola Hillside Homes

Where we live onSt Kitts, bottom right.

Gaye's favorite piano students

Feeling more in control now!